31 December 2015

an old poem to end the old year





CAPODANNO 1984   VENEZIA

Tournedos a la Vivaldi leak blood
beside the theater "La Traviata" failed in
Orwell's year begins with Mumm's
& roses pinned with needles

from Taverna La Fenice thru lifting fog
old friends & new walk to Piazza San Marco
celebrants smash bottles & snake dance
where Doges once plotted blood

a balcony on il Canal Grande unveils
a view of San Giorgio Maggiore
& the first morning of a new year
while Britten's fond bells peel

the bag lady returns to her bench
to feed a cat the size of the Vatican
cappuccino & little cakes at Florian's
revive memories of nun veils

David recalls breakfasts before church
hearing Lydia the Story Mixer
make tales from trios of words
suggested by needling listeners

then he gathers canal water in a bottle
to take back to Leipzig & is off
but I remain a tourist
ready for another jewelbox church

last night's boutonniere falls apart
in sight of the Island of the Dead
(I will leave the leafless rose
on Pound's grave)

& at lunch the year's first blood
amid talk of Byron & Vigny
at Locanda Montin I break skin
trying to pry scampi giganti apart

from needle marks I suck liquid roses
creatures of water wreak revenge
but cool passions of the sea pale
when an actor hams Shakespeare in Italian

-- a gobbo in black leather gimps
across wounded boards
oblivious of the century
spreading blood like roses --

& so it begins one more time
pigeons pecking fog-sogged streamers
shards of prosecco bottles stuck
in boot heels & friends floating off 

while I still remember that New Year's
alone with not quite a lover
drenched in champagne & semen
ignoring the avalanche of time



















































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